Elizabeth Genovise is originally from Chicago, Illinois, and earned her MFA in fiction at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
She is an O. Henry Prize winner whose stories have appeared in several dozen journals and have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and other awards. Since 2014 she has published five collections of short stories via small or university presses, the most recent being Posing Nude for the Saints, Palindrome, and Lighthouse Dreams.
Elizabeth is also the author of a novelette, The Numismatist. Her first novel, Third Class Relics, will be published via the Texas Review Press in 2024.
Currently she works as a literature instructor at the college level and for a state penitentiary. She is an avid reader, hiker, and devotee of the work of C.G. Jung. She dreams of owning something signed by J.R.R. Tolkien, and of buying a writer's haven in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she completed her newest manuscript in Summer 2023.
RECENT AND FORTHCOMING WORKS
Texas Review Press, Fall 2022
A carpenter spars with God over his son’s early death. A man haunted by his cousin’s suicide has an opportunity to redeem himself of his former negligence. An alcoholic reunites with the man who ruined his marriage. After a school shooting, a college professor becomes obsessed with vengeance, but not for the first time. A woman recalls night-hikes with the troubled boy who shifted the arc of her life. And in the title story, two cousins flee the Vietnam draft only to find that there is no escape from what they most fear.
Praise for Palindrome:
The stories in Elizabeth Genovise’s Palindrome are dispatches from lives of calamity. Here is a catalogue of human woe—suicide, mass shootings, car crashes, drownings—yet the characters, with their everyday humanity, labor toward whatever hard-won and temporary deliverance they can find. Yes, these are tales of the metastasizing power of grief, of fissuring faith, but they are also moving and deftly-written testaments to our stubborn human insistence, to our gritty determination to carry our past sorrows with dignity and even hope. -Doug Ramspeck, author of Under Black Leaves and The Owl That Carries Us Away
Immersive, surprising, and utterly convincing, the short stories of Elizabeth Genovise unfold effortlessly, with a clarity of vision and an understanding of character that all great fiction writers possess. Genovise will break your heart and mend it, and the stories you read in this book will stay with you long after you're done. -Matthew Vollmer, author of Permanent Exhibit, Gateway to Paradise, Inscriptions for Headstones, and Future Missionaries of America.
Read reviews by Don J. Rath and Daniel Sundahl here:
Lighthouse Dreams (Stories)
Passengers Press, Summer 2023
In the wake of a train derailment, a comatose passenger traverses a mythological landscape that restores the numinous to his life. A woman who has served too long as a metaphorical battery for those around her realizes she must learn to nurture the fire within. A professor and student, both planning suicide, cross paths at precisely the right time and inadvertently save each other's lives. A painter's vivid dream explores the nature of artistic creation, revealing both its hazards and rewards. Three repressed and despairing souls spend the night at a lighthouse, where the yearnings of their unconscious minds finally make themselves heard. The lives of the characters in Lighthouse Dreams are tenuous and endangered, but hope arrives in the form of startling synchronicities, spontaneous visions, and the unexpected compassion of others.
Praise for Lighthouse Dreams:
Genovise’s stories trade in liminal spaces: the spaces between revelation and change, between modern stylistic conventions and parables, between unflinching realism and transcendence. Her characters, storytelling, and diction deftly couch the contemporary in the perennial. Though we meet her characters in seasons of change, Genovise’s stories are anchored by the weight of the eternal. As such, they endure. -Riley Bounds, Solum Literary Press
Reading this book is like losing oneself in a wall-sized painting. Everywhere you turn there is lush detail, lyrical brushstrokes that change each time your eyes find them. In these hidden spaces, Genovise’s characters find heartbreak, reconciliation, truth, and forgiveness. They remind us that there are ways to unbreak the self, even when the self seems hopelessly broken. -Luke Rolfes, author of Sleep Lake
The Numismatist (Novelette)
Wipf & Stock Press / Resource Publications, Summer 2023
A priest recalls a defining childhood summer during which his father’s affair shattered his family. Befriended against his will by an elderly numismatist and a lonely neighborhood boy named Percy, the young James is forced to confront the realities of his parents’ crumbling marriage, his fragile faith, and his own capacity for darkness.
Praise for The Numismatist:
With these times of discontent, we need a vision in which the sacred and the quotidian mingle. In The Numismatist, Elizabeth Genovise fulfills that obligation with the story of James, whose life has fallen into desolation, and Matthew, the numismatist for whom coins reveal spiritual lessons; the search is for the rarest of all coins, the proof that God works endlessly to bring us all back to Him. -Daniel Sundahl, author of The Small Logics
Elizabeth Genovise tells stories with an intimacy that strikes, lingers, and bewilders. The Numismatist takes the building blocks of daily pain and kindness and makes them resonate across years; she draws on the ephemerality of history in a way that reminds us how small our lives are, and how much each strangled moment of love means in the long arc of time. -Conor Sweetman, editor of Ekstasis
Third Class Relics (Novel) Forthcoming 2024
Texas Review Press / Texas A&M Consortium
After her father's wake, a woman is compelled to revisit her family's painful history, realizing that she cannot move forward until she confronts the tragedy that defined them all. At the center of this tragedy is her youngest cousin-- a brilliant child who took on a double personality in an ingenious effort to save them all from themselves, but who in the end proved only too human.
Praise for Third Class Relics:
With lyrical language that often reads like luminous incantations, Elizabeth Genovise crafts a saga of shattered children cleaving to one another in the shadow of broken parents, all salvaged by a savior unexpected and delightful. Here is a book sometimes quirky, often quite funny, but always profoundly insightful. It’s a novel that belongs on that rare shelf alongside unmatched wonders like The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Housekeeping. Third Class Relics is tragically lovely, brutally true, miraculously devastating. -Neil Connelly, In the Wake of Our Vows
I read Elizabeth Genovise’s Third Class Relics with tears in my eyes all the way through. This book is so masterfully crafted that it is impossible not to feel the message that pounds like a heavy heartbeat in each line. This novel is a call to action, and that action is love. If only we could love others for who they are and not who we selfishly need them to be . . . It is imperative that we start now. -Amy Willoughby-Burle, Out Across the Nowhere
A portrait of brothers and sisters who turn against one of their own, Third Class Relics is a poignant novel whose characters traverse the full spectrum of emotions from fury to grief and at last to burgeoning joy. –Kaye Park Hinckley, Birds of a Feather